[Editor’s note: Dr. Steven Novella is an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine.]
Eating “clean” is the latest fad diet pseudoscience. A recent article in The Guardian goes over the many aspects of this movement in great detail, and is worth a read. My only complaint is that the author, Bee Wilson, buys into misinformation about the medical profession and nutrition.
Wilson claims that the medical profession was unhelpful when it came to nutrition. I disagree – the medical profession was at the forefront of nutritional research and advice. The problem was that the science-based answers were not what everyone wanted to hear.
At its core the clean eating movement is part of the more general phenomenon of antiscience. There has always been a conflict between academics and genuine experts, and marketing and popular culture. The two don’t always play well together (not to suggest equivalency).
[F]or most people, the scientific answer to healthy eating is not complex. Eat more vegetables. Eat a varied diet. Exercise regularly. Adjust your caloric intake to achieve a healthy weight. If you do that you are 90% of the way there. The rest are details, most of which will be taken care of if you eat a varied diet and plenty of vegetables.
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